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11.11.14 Parisian Gnocchi with Roasted Squash, Sage, and Parmesan

11.11.14 Parisian Gnocchi with Roasted Squash, Sage, and Parmesan

Parisian gnocchi is one of those recipes I stumbled upon long ago, and immediately knew I had to make it. Of course, immediately knowing you’re going to make something, and immediately making it are two very different things. Truth be told, it’s taken longer than I originally anticipated to actually get down to cooking some, but having finally taken the time to whip up a batch, I can safely say that the wait was worth it. Truly.

If you’ve never heard of Parisian gnocchi before, you’re probably not alone. It seems to be a fairly obscure dish that just I happened to read about on this fine blog some time back. If you’re like me, the word gnocchi evokes an image of little potato or ricotta dumplings, and like me, you might assume that Parisian gnocchi is some fancy French version of the gnocchi we all know and love. While you’d be right about the dumpling part, Parisian gnocchi, unlike their Italian counterparts, are made in an entirely different way - with choux pastry. If you’ve ever had gougeres, eclairs, or cream puffs, you know how deliciously light and airy choux pastry is. Now, picture that same dough, piped into little tasty little nuggets, cooked in boiling water, and then fried up in a big pan of warm butter. Yeah, that’s what I thought. You can see why I had to make these.

And I can say that having made a batch, I was surprised at how easy the process was. Not that making regular ricotta gnocchi is difficult, but these came together in what seemed like no time. The only fiddly part was piping them into the water to boil, and here, you really have one of two options: Enlist a friend help you (one person pipes, one cuts) to make short work of this somewhat tricky task, or if you’re going it alone, just be resigned to the fact that you’ll probably end up with some funky shaped gnocchi. They’ll still be delicious though, I promise. And if you find the end result as addictively good as I did, chances are, you may be making these again. And again. Which means plenty of opportunity to hone your gnocchi skills.

Once you’ve boiled these guys to tender perfection, the final step is to fry them up to a crispy golden brown. Of course, from there, you can go all out, adding whatever toppings or additions you see fit. It being November and all, I opted for some particularly autumnal flavors, using brown butter for the frying, and tossing in some sage, roasted butternut squash, and shaved parmesan for good measure. The result is one fantastic fall supper.

Parisian Gnocchi with Roasted Squash, Sage, and Parmesan

serves 2-3

  • ½ medium butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt, divided
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 ½ Tbsp butter, divided
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (I recommend Sartori’s Sarvecchio Parmesan)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage, divided
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • shaved Parmesan, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Toss cubed squash with olive oil, ¼ tsp salt, and pepper. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet, and roast until squash is tender, about 35-40 minutes.

3. While squash is roasting, begin making the gnocchi. Heat 4 Tbsp butter, water, and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until just boiling. Reduce heat to low and stir in the flour all at once. Continue to stir quickly until dough pulls away from the sides of the pan to form one big ball. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until dough starts steaming slightly.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly for about 5 minutes.

4. Crack eggs one at a time into the dough and stir rapidly to incorporate - this must be done quickly to prevent the eggs from cooking. At first, you’ll have trouble getting the eggs to incorporate into the dough, but keep stirring, and after a minute or so, they should be well mixed in, and a smooth batter should be formed. Stir in ¼ cup grated Parmesan and 1 tsp fresh chopped sage.

5. Spoon dough into a pastry bag or a large ziplock bag. Snip off one corner of the  bag to create a ½” hole for piping. Set bag aside and let dough rest while you bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.

6. Once water is boiling, hold the piping bag over the water, apply pressure to pipe the dough, and use sharp kitchen shears or a paring knife to cut off dough in about 1” intervals. The cut dumplings will fall into the boiling water to cook - cut the dumplings as quickly as possible so that they will all have a similar cook time. Once dumplings rise to the top of the pot, continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to ensure they are cooked through and tender. Drain thoroughly.

7. Heat the remaining 1 ½ Tbsp butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until butter is melted and beginning to brown. Add 1 tsp chopped fresh sage, and cook for about 1 minute. Add the gnocchi, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 6-7 minutes.

8. Stir in the roasted squash and lemon juice, season with additional salt if needed. Serve topped with shaved Parmesan.

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